A businessman has accused Falkirk Council of “cashing in” on his hard work after it sold a commercial property he had helped renovate.
Lex Miller had an offer to buy the premises at 10 Dundas Street, Grangemouth, turned down by the local authority last month despite it being in excess of the asking price.
I have a great relationship with the council - but this was a kick in the teethLex Miller
The council said it was bound to achieve the best value for local taxpayers.
Mr Miller signed a 25-year lease for the property in 2013 when it was still council-owned and claims to have invested a high five-figure sum in repairing its roof, carrying out other remedial works and preparing for its use by commercial tenants.
He told The Falkirk Herald he subsequently helped several small businesses establish themselves in the property.
“The building had been empty for three years after the former Grangemouth Enterprise left it. It was a mess,” he said.
“The council first tried to sell it in 2013 but received no bids. It was then the council approached me to ‘do something with it’.”
Mr Miller, who grew up in Dundas Street, already owns several of the other commercial units in the road.
“They offered me a full repairing 25-year lease. I took it on and turned the building around.
“All the units are now occupied. There can’t be a street in the Falkirk district where all the shops and business units are at maximum occupancy like this.”
Falkirk Council remarketed the property last month, with an asking price of offers over £140,000.
Mr Miller said he was “stunned” when he discovered his bid was unsuccessful.
“I have a great relationship with the council - but this was a kick in the teeth.
“There is no appeals process. But there are complications as I already own the only access road to the building.”
A council spokesman said: “The property was placed on the open market and the highest offer was accepted representing best value for Council Tax payers.
“The process is entirely transparent and fair and it is up to any individual to put in a bid of what they consider to be the right price.
“Mr Miller had recently established the lease for these premises and, as tenant, he will be able to continue to enjoy the benefit of his investment in the property.
“Should the transaction conclude satisfactorily he will have a new landlord, however, the terms of his lease and occupancy of the property will remain unchanged.”